Episode | Originally Aired:

January 15, 2009

Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the country. Drivers sit in rush-hour traffic 93 hours a year — more than twice the national average. Since 1980 the number of miles Californians drive each year has doubled, but we've only added 6% more miles of freeway lanes. We take viewers into the underground nerve center of L.A.'s traffic control system. It's a vast network of road sensors, overhead cameras, and light synchronizing technology. We also visit the $46 million state-of-art CALTRANS facility that oversees freeways in L.A. and Ventura Counties. Their mission is to respond as quickly as possible to everything from multi-car accidents to a dropped ladder. Finally we meet Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us). Vanderbilt has traveled the world studying traffic, and he points out a lot of problems are caused by us — the drivers.

Also, Angie Crouch looks at how plummeting sales, changing consumer tastes and frozen lines of credit are effecting car dealerships. The San Bernardino Auto Mall, busy in good times, is starting to resemble an automotive ghost town, as a growing number of dealerships close their doors for good and empty their lots of cars.

And commentator Marcos Villatoro on the importance of poetry, and the joy of having it included in the Presidential Inauguration.

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Wow. We waste a lot of time on traffic - electric signs, signals, etc. They should use that money to build more subways and trains.